An Energy-interference-free Hardware-Software Debugger for Intermittent Energy-harvesting Systems

Tuesday March 22, 2016
Location: CIC Panther Hollow Room
Time: 4:30PM

Alexei Colin (Carnegie Mellon University)


Energy-autonomous computing devices have the potential to extend the reach of computing to a scale beyond either wired or battery-powered systems. However, these devices pose a unique set of challenges to application developers who lack both hardware and software support tools. Energy harvesting devices experience power intermittence which causes the system to reset and power-cycle unpredictably, tens to hundreds of times per second. This can result in code execution errors that are not possible in continuously-powered systems and cannot be diagnosed with conventional debugging tools such as JTAG and/or oscilloscopes.

We propose the Energy-interference-free Debugger, a hardware and software platform for monitoring and debugging intermittent systems without adversely effecting their energy state. The Energy-interference-free Debugger re-creates a familiar debugging environment for intermittent software and augments it with debugging primitives for effective diagnosis of intermittence bugs. Our evaluation of the Energy-interference-free Debugger quantifies its energy-interference-freedom and shows its value in a set of debugging tasks in complex test programs and several real applications, including RFID code and a machine-learning-based activity recognition system.


I am a Ph.D. student in the ECE department at Canegie Mellon Univeristy. I work with my advisor Prof. Brandon Lucia in the Abstract research group. I research tools and systems for creating software that runs reliably and efficiently on intermittently-powered energy-harvesting devices.